Coal mining could continue in roadless areas of the Gunnison National Forest under a draft plan for Colorado released today.
The seven– page draft is the result of months of work by a task force created to advise governor Owens on what lands should remain roadless and which should be released from that designation.
The plan allows coal mining to continue in the North Fork Valley, but would require companies to restore lands to pre–mine conditions after the mines are closed.
The plan also allows temporary roads to fight fires or for other emergencies as well as roads for ranchers to reach cattle ponds and other infrastructure.
Public comment will be accepted on the draft plan until August 25th.
Final recommendations will go before governor Owens on September 13th, with final plans going to Washington a month later.